CATHERINE & MOOSE
In collaboration with Lucy & Co., Printerette is excited to unveil an exclusive collection of six greeting cards featuring doggone cute pups. Each design was hand-drawn and hand-lettered by Printerette’s very own Catherine Polacek, dog lover and whimsical papyrophile. As one of two inaugural collaborative lines, Lucy & Printerette created these cards using soy ink on tree-free paper with the help of an antique Heidelberg Windmill press.
“My best cards come out very quickly and they’re not very belabored and strangely I don’t draw dogs often, but it came effortlessly.”
Catherine was tricked into letterpress; hypnotized, really. With an academic and corporate background in clothing design, she was passionately going about her job for five years when a family friend randomly called and offered her an antique press. At first, she didn’t “want that hunk of metal - no thanks,” but the more she thought about it the more and more she had to have a press of her own. Having lost her chance to own the press that had been offered to her, she went on a long and methodic search, discovering her first purchased press in Iowa on an “insanely cold day in February.” She hauled it back to her home’s basement and started letterpressing as a hobby.
"Eventually, I took a leap of faith when I realized that there was a desire for letterpress goods. All my passion behind it made it a thing that was going to happen."
Three years later, Catherine is the proprietress behind Printerette Press boutique design and letterpress located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. No longer printing as a basement hobby, but a full-blown paper stacking operation, Printerette specializes in custom and everyday fine printed stationery for any occasion. But Catherine has kept her business “close to home,” with essentially the entire process taking place in-house. Everything Catherine does is hand drawn and hand lettered, giving her work an added layer of Printerettey uniqueness. She, then, turns her illustrations into plates, puts the plates on the press, mixes the ink by hand after consulting a Pantone book, inks the plates on press, and prints away. She notes that the paper is the only thing she doesn’t have a hand in making, admitting that it is actually made in Wisconsin and purchased from a local St. Paul company.
Even so, the selection of the perfect paper was a thoughtful process, with Catherine landing on “tree-free” 100% cotton paper made from linters, a byproduct of the fashion industry. It was important to her that the paper not only be green, but that it “hold the art well.” Drawn to bright colors, Catherine’s style of illustration uses large areas of color, adding lots of contrast to the eye immediately, but she is careful to do so in a minimal way for impact, still leaving lots of white space. She plays up the textural element, creating art that letterpresses well to create a tactile experience for the card’s recipient. Her art tends to be a bit nostalgic, flirting with the softer, saccharine side of Americana.
“Letterpress is awesome because it is the old fashioned way of printing. It pushes the art into the paper, which is not only pleasurable to look at, but also to feel.”
Clients and fans of Catherine’s have come to know her infamous shop dog, Moose. Moose entered into the Printerette narrative about four years ago as a teeny tiny puppy, weighing in at two(ish) pounds. Having had yorkie poos growing up, Catherine convinced her husband to bring one into their family, under the condition that they would give him a “tough guy” name to up his street cred. Moose joined Catherine while she was still working from home and was not allowed to come down into her basement studio. Every single time she’d pass the basement stairs, he’d be waiting for her at the top of the stairs. Today, he joins her in studio as one of Printerette’s only employees.
“I love the way my dog just picks up on my energy and my moods - he’s the ultimate companion. He knows what’s happening. I don’t mind staying late to work if he’s there with me.”
Catherine and Moose are already dreaming up greeting cards featuring shaggier, dreadlocked dogs for the future Lucy & Co. collaborations. They enjoyed the challenge of working on a small project of collaborative nature and invite similar coteries in the future, as Catherine is always looking to build client and retailer relationships that keep her inspired and creating anew.
For more Printerette Press products or to follow Catherine’s work, check out Printerette Press or @Printerette on Instagram.
Photography by the very talented Wing Ta
Shop the collection here.